Instructor: SuperStars helps differently abled exercise, gain confidence
MUNCY — Anyone can be a superstar.
That’s the message Diana Logan’s SuperStars class is spreading to folks of all abilities throughout Lycoming County.
Held at the East Lycoming Branch YMCA on Saturday mornings, SuperStars is a free class that gives people of all ages who are wheelchair-bound, who have autism or who are anywhere in between on the spectrum of diverse abilities, the opportunity to be active, be social and be a superstar.
“It’s an all-inclusive workout for any diverse ability, and you won’t find a more compassionate group anywhere,” Logan said. “The Y has been 100 percent supportive in backing our adventure for this class. This is the mission of the Y, reaching out into communities.”
Logan started the class about seven years ago with fewer than 10 participants. Now she averages more than 40 attendees per class and is hoping to spread SuperStars to other YMCA branches. There is a SuperStars class already available at the Williamsport branch a few days per month, led by Brenda Lorson, Logan said.
“As important as the workout is for individuals, it also helps them socialize and make friends,” she said. “Plus, their families come together and find support.”
The class starts with a warm-up dance, then incorporates Drums Alive exercises that involve participants drumming away on an exercise ball with stretches and dance moves incorporated to keep the superstars’ bodies moving.
Next, they run or wheel their chairs from one side of the gym to the center and then have a free dance period in which every person gets to show off their moves. The class ends with a cool-down dance followed by sharing time, when anyone who wants to share can tell
the class about anything that makes them happy.
Recently, Amanda Brown, of Unityville, who has been in the class since its start, shared how much she loves her family and the teachers and volunteers who help SuperStars.
“You guys are family to me, too,” Brown said to her peers with a big smile on her face. “Dance class means good weekend.”
Another student, John Rittenhouse, of Montoursville, said it simply: “It’s awesome!”
The benefits are different for everyone — from losing weight to gaining confidence to growing more independent.
The Feiock brothers — Elon, Ben and Trent — have been with the class for about three years now. They each love to dance, drum and see their friends.
“This is really a great program … it’s getting them moving and giving them the unity of being with other kids,” said JoAnne Feiock, their mom. “All three of them have come so far.”
“The music tends to bring out their individuality,” added their dad, Tim Feiock.
Different songs, combined with the drumming and dancing, give everyone a chance to show their own personalities. From drumming like crazy to a high-energy pop song, to grabbing a friend’s hands to join in on freelance dancing, each student shines in a different way, agree Logan and the Feiocks.
“Nobody does it wrong,” Logan said.
Logan’s daughters, Erica and Amber, also are certified to teach Drums Alive and have been helping with the class since day one. Volunteers Cherie and Rick Wurster, Joe Walker, Erin Heap, Morgan Heap and Sarah Hall volunteer with the program.
Amber Logan is differently-abled herself, Diana Logan said, and was the first person with diverse abilities in the United States to be certified to lead the class.
“The importance of being able to watch Amber lead is they see that they can be leaders, too,” Diana Logan said. “They’re gaining confidence and taking that back to their communities.”